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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A short review

A few days ago I went on a lovely trip to the north of Spain (more on that later). I thought I'd take a book for the 5-hour ride there. I decided to take a copy of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King, a book I've been wanting to read for quite a while. It is a relatively short book compared to his other works, and I can gladly say I read it from beginning to end successfully.

To sum it up, this novel is about 9-year old Trish who gets lost in the woods after she takes a little break from her arguing mom and brother. Her worry deepens as she is not found by the rangers after the 2nd day.. then the 3rd... In fact, she is left to survive by herself in the strange woods for more than a week with nothing but her Walkman and a mental conjuration of her biggest idol, Tom Gordon, to keep her company.

As a 9 year old with an avid imagination, Trish's fear of the dark and the unknown increases as she is left alone in the woods for days, forced to sleep out in the open. She keeps quite a strong head for the first few days, prioritizing her safety before her childish needs. That is not to say that a little bit of her childishness does not slip out at times, with her being impatient to be found and making rash decisions (that result in dire consequences). It is only after a week or so has passed that she begins to teeter on the border between sane and delirious. To make it worse, a mysterious monster is living behind corpses of beheaded animals throughout the woods. Fear begins to take hold of her as her young mind conjures up wild images of this "monster". She is left to use the small quips of advice that her divorced parents had given her (and her common sense) to survive. You will soon find that you are rooting for her to come out alive, although her chances of survival become thinner and thinner as time passes.

A kid lost in the woods, you would think is not the most original plot. But what makes this story so good is the way the author places himself in the eyes of a frightened young girl, reviving the irrational thoughts and emotions we have as children, when we are so uncorrupted and naïve. The allusions to the "monster" that continues to stalk Trish adds an even bigger fervor of horror to the story. Even at the ending, Stephen King does not clarify what this monster (who really did leave behind corpses and watched Trish at night) was. Was it really just an extended metaphor that reached out to the depths of Trish's innocent mind, corrupted by the shadowed evils of the woods? These questions leave us to ponder the central theme of innocence and growing up even after we have finished the book.

In a way, this sort of correlates with his other novel Misery, where the protagonist is forced to endure hard and terror-filled circumstances in order to survive. What is quite different is that Trish is alone (except for her hallucinations), while Paul Sheldon (from Misery) must fake is affection for his deluded caretaker Annie Wilkes.  There is no outright violence or gore, yet the author was able to set the mood for a very tense and horror-filled story.

All in all, this was an amazing read. It will give you a great taste of Stephen King's writing. I hope you guys enjoyed this review!


  1. One of King's best works. Good choice.

  2. I've read quite a bit of King but have yet to encounter this book, sounds interesting.

  3. I must say, stephen king is one of my favorite authors.

  4. You know, I've not read much Stephen King, but I have been meaning to get into his work. This book sounds like a great place to start!

  5. You 'made me' read this book... Will let you know if i like it ;)